Why Does My Slow Cooker Smell Like Burnt Plastic?

One frequent complaint about new kitchen appliances is that they emit a foul odor during the initial uses, which can be unappealing to those who want to cook tasty meals without any unpleasant smells emanating from their machines.

Although some people may attribute it to initial use, it is crucial to monitor the odor because if it persists, there might be an issue with your slow cooker.

If you are wondering why your slow cooker has a burnt plastic smell, it could be due to the protective layer on the components not burning away completely or damage to the bowl, power cords, control panel, and inside vessel.

Examining the causes of the burnt plastic odor emanating from your slow cooker, methods to eliminate it, and the recommended frequency for cleaning your appliance will be discussed.

How Your Components Could be the Smelly Culprit & Solutions to Rid the Burnt Plastic Smell!

Typically, the manufacturer will explain that the burning plastic smell is a result of your new slow cooker needing to be “worn in,” and that with continued use, the odor will dissipate.

If you notice that the unpleasant burning odor lingers even after using your slow cooker a few times, it may be caused by problems with the components of your appliance.

If your slow cooker smells like burnt plastic, it is recommended to inspect each of the components listed below for any potential problems.

#1 Check Out the Glass Lid

Whenever you use your slow cooker, and there is a smell of burning plastic or electricity, it is essential to check if the lid is damaged. In case there are any cracks or chips in the lid, liquids can spill out and burn on the outside of the lid.

If your slow cooker‘s sealing gasket is flattened or bent out of shape, it can cause liquid spillage which may result in a burning smell, although not necessarily that of burnt plastic.

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My Slow Cooker Doesn’t Get Hot Enough

Replacing the lid can solve the issue and eliminate the familiar burnt smell.

#2 Unplug and Run Your Hand Along Those Power Cords

Ensure that your power cords are undamaged by inspecting them for fraying, plastic covering peeling off, and signs of “burnt out” areas on the ends.

If you detect any of these indications, it is possible that the power cords are responsible for the odor.

#3 Look for Remnants of Food in the Bowl

Despite our efforts to maintain cleanliness in our kitchen appliances, a bowl that is not cleaned properly or regularly may contain leftover food particles.

If there is a buildup of food or residue in your slow cooker, it can burn and produce an unpleasant odor. The same can occur if the bowl is damaged or cracked.

#4 Look for Permanent Damage to the Outside Vessel

Presence of any food debris on the exterior of the slow cooker pot can also generate an odor resembling burnt plastic or electricity.

Particularly if the food particles are present on the control panel’s exterior where the controls are located, this holds true.

It is important to ensure that the vessel is cleaned thoroughly both inside and outside after every use.

#5 Does Your Slow Cooker Have a Standalone Probe?

For individuals who frequently cook meat, standalone probes that detect the temperature of the food being cooked are often utilized and some slow cookers come with this feature.

If your slow cooker emits a burning or electrical smell due to a faulty probe that cooks food at excessively high temperatures, you can easily resolve the issue by repairing or replacing the standalone component.

If the aforementioned remedies fail to resolve the issue and your slow cooker continues to emit a burnt plastic odor or an electrical scent, it is possible that the control panel is responsible.

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The control panel plays a crucial role in regulating the heat transfer and directly manages the heating component, and if it malfunctions, it can lead to a burnt plastic odor.

Be cautious of indications that the control panel is not acknowledging your directives or misinterpreting the directives you enter.

If you suspect that the control panel is the issue, your options are to either send it for warranty repair or have it entirely replaced.

How Often Should I Clean My Slow Cooker?

Slow cookers can be difficult to clean because food often becomes stuck to the cooking vessel after being exposed to heat for extended periods of time, which is a common issue for many users.

Cleaning off stubborn food can be a tedious task and may result in damaging the surface of the slow cooker.

It is highly recommended to clean your slow cooker with soap and water after every use, even if you use it frequently, such as twice a week.

For optimal maintenance of your slow cooker, it is advisable to perform a thorough cleaning every month or every few months, depending on the frequency of usage.

Simple Tips for Getting Your Slow Cooker Easily Cleaned

  • Plastic liners can be utilized to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the slow cooker bowl.
  • To make cleaning easier and loosen any stuck food, fill the slow cooker with water and soap, then turn it on the low setting for an hour.
  • Utilize baking soda to tackle food spots that have been baked onto the surface.
  • To perform a thorough cleaning of your slow cooker, fill it with water and gradually add vinegar and baking soda until it is almost full. For a 3-quart slow cooker, use ½ cup of distilled white vinegar or 1 cup for a 6-quart. Similarly, use ½ cup of baking soda for a 3-quart and 1 cup for a 6-quart. Turn on the slow cooker on low heat and let it simmer for an hour.
  • To clean the base of your slow cooker, use a damp, soapy cloth to wipe it and leave it on the counter to dry; avoid immersing the crockpot’s base in water.
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Do Slow Cookers Ever Catch on Fire?

It is highly unlikely that your slow cooker will catch fire, particularly if it has modern safety features. However, if you possess an older model with a fabric-covered power cord, it is advisable to dispose of it and purchase a new one.

The reason for this is that older slow cookers may pose a fire hazard if there is an electrical short in the power cord, which could cause the fabric on the outside to ignite.

It is perfectly safe to leave your slow cooker on the countertop and cook food for extended periods of time on low heat or warm settings, even if you are not at home or overnight.

To alleviate any concerns, the optimal course of action is to disconnect the slow cooker when not in use, keep it on a level and secure platform, and consistently examine the cord for signs of damaged or uncovered wiring prior to usage.

Modern versions of slow cookers come equipped with safety mechanisms such as automatic shutdown and the capability to transition into a warming mode once the timer has run out.

Ensuring that your smoke detector in your home is functioning properly is strongly advised, regardless of whether you are utilizing a slow cooker or not.

You can also check this video about “Why Does My Slow Cooker Smell Like Burnt Plastic?”

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